CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, July 31, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 3641, the Pinnacles National Park Act, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval. The bill was introduced on December 13, 2011, by Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) and referred to the Natural Resources Committee. On July 11, 2012, the Committee held a mark-up on the bill and reported the legislation, as amended, by unanimous consent.
H.R. 3641 would establish the Pinnacles National Park in Paicines, California, as a unit of the National Park System. Currently, the site is operated as Pinnacles National Monument. The bill would redesignate the National Monument, which was established in 1908, as a National Park. According to CBO, the new designation would have no significant effect on the costs of operating and maintaining the affected lands.
According to the Committee on Natural Resources, Pinnacles was designated a National Monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt under the authority of the Antiquities Act. Proponents of the legislation aim to raise the profile of Pinnacles National Monument through this name change. With the enactment of the legislation, it is anticipated that management would not change dramatically, as the area is already under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.
The NPS is facing a maintenance deficit and a deteriorating national park infrastructure. According to CRS, while the NPS has improved inventory and asset management systems, the estimate of its deferred maintenance backlog has continued to mount. The Department of Interior (DOI) estimated deferred maintenance for the NPS for FY2010 at between $8.77 billion and $12.89 billion, with a mid-range figure of $10.83 billion. The backlog is a result of the NPS’s failing to do scheduled maintenance and upkeep that was either not funded or carried out according to plan.
According to CBO, the legislation would have no significant impact on the federal budget.